Group Executive of Aurizon’s Coal business, Ed McKeiver, said the Company was delighted to continue its growth in the region by becoming a supply chain partner with AGL Macquarie and helping to deliver around 30% of New South Wales’ electricity needs.
“The contract includes coal rail haulage of 8.7 million tonnes per annum for AGL Macquarie in the Hunter Valley through to December 2025, and also extends Aurizon’s investment and large employee presence in local communities in the Hunter Valley.
“To support the new contract, we have a new team of 41 employees who are excited about not only running the rail services, but also managing the ancillary services associated with operating AGL Macquarie’s Antiene and Newdell coal unloading facilities.
“The team has been in training and have trialled a number of test trains for some time to prepare for the contract start today. Out of the 41 employees, 16 have come from other areas of Aurizon, transferring internally from Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, and bringing their experience and Aurizon’s operating knowledge with them.
“We also recruited 16 trainee drivers, allowing us to attract local people to the rail industry and develop them in a trainee driver program to become qualified drivers. Each of the 16 are in final stages of their traineeships as we commence operations,” said Mr McKeiver.
Aurizon is also confident that the diversity of the new team will set them up for success.
"Across the team, 30% of the workforce is female and 15% identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Each team member will bring their unique perspective and experience to the workplace, and I am confident that they will deliver great results for AGL Macquarie,” he said.
The new team complements Aurizon’s workforce of around 330 people in the region, as the Company continues to grow its business in the Hunter Valley.
“We have invested approximately $500 million in trains and facilities to further grow our business in the region. In the 2016 financial year, we hauled approximately 44 million tonnes of coal in the Hunter Valley, and opened our $180 million Train Support Facility at Hexham just outside Newcastle,” said Mr McKeiver.
The contract with AGL Macquarie takes Aurizon’s contracted tonnages in New South Wales to approximately 55 million tonnes per annum.
Image caption: A loaded Aurizon coal train is ready to unload its first delivery for AGL Macquarie.